Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ada LaMonte, One of Denver's Earliest Madams: An Oklahoma City Connection?

In 1889, one of the women who was said to have come to town with Anne Wynn "Big Anne", was a girl who called herself Jean LaMonte (LaMont).  She claimed to be related to the famous madam of Denver, Ada LaMonte. Though many early books and newspapers wrote it as "Ad LaMont".

Cy Martin's Whiskey and Wild Women  (Hart, 1974) clarified who the LaMont woman was and what Jean LaMont may have been claiming. Ada was nineteen when she arrived in Denver after an ordeal crossing the plains with a wagon party. Her minister husband disappeared at the same time a woman thought to be a prostitute did and tongues wagged. Driving the wagon westward the young girl had a lot of time to think and her heart to grow hard. She apparently surprised one and all when, on reaching Denver she announced plans to start a brothel and to go by the name Ada LaMont.

For some ten years she worked hard and developed a simple but effective business that became the talk of men from St. Louis to San Francisco.  Along the way, sometime during the Civil War, she fell for a gambler or saloon keeper who was true to the Confederacy and rode off to his doom. When she heard of his death, the story goes, she began to loose all will and took to drinking.

Finally in about 1906 she died in her 'retirement' in Georgetown, Colorado.

It may be that, like many prostitutes, Jean crafted a background that gave her the status, experience, and glamour needed to launch into business in Oklahoma City.  In  1905 she is being called Madame Brentlinger, supposedly a married name, but as easily another alias. Just like many said that Anne had come straight from seven years running a Leadville brothel, the timeline of facts discovered about her, put some of that into question.  Instead of a lot of detail, it was probably just easier to say they had come from Leadville (similar to saying they had come from Vegas).   She may have worked for Ada in Denver, may have been a relative, or merely adopted the name as a new identity.

An ad in a local paper shows that all the fixtures of Jean's haunt on West Second was sold at auction and after that she - her non de plume - anyway seems to disappear. She was supposed to have had two daughters who in about 1905 were 13 and 15. Where they went and what ultimately happened to

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